Silverthorne welcomes ‘late’ winter with free ice-skating, sledding, new amenities at Nordic trails | SummitDaily.com

Silverthorne welcomes ‘late’ winter with free ice-skating, sledding, new amenities at Nordic trails

While winter might have been slow on the uptake this season, the ice rink at North Pond Park in Silverthorne is now open at the same time town officials are plugging Rainbow Park's sledding hills and an entirely new wintertime amenity.

And no, it's not a Zamboni machine, at least not yet.

The same town officials plugging Silverthorne's winter assets are keeping their fingers crossed for favorable conditions going forward. Still, the opening of the North Pond ice rink means free ice skating from dawn until dusk every day at the popular 5-acre park across the street from Silverthorne Elementary at Hamilton Creek Road and Highway 9.

Generally speaking, North Pond opens for ice skating sometime in mid-December. However, due to a spat of warm weather, the opening was delayed this year until the end of the month.

In addition to its frozen pond, North Pond Park also features a picnic shelter, warming hut, restrooms, two docks, a short walking trail, gas fire pits, plenty of parking and "the best true pond skating in Summit County," according Susan Schulman, a spokeswoman for the town.

"You can even get out there on the pond with just boots on," she said. "Some people just go out there and play around."

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The warming hut is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and non-skaters are welcome to hang out there or on the docks to watch the action with some traction under their feet.

There are also a number of upcoming events planned for North Pond Park, starting with a Twilight Skate at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 21, where warm chili and moon pies will be served around the fire pits.

Of course, there's also the ever-popular, always-crazy Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament, set for the weekend of Feb. 17–19. The tournament draws people from across the U.S. for a weekend of pond hockey, giveaways, skating contests, barbecues, costumes and beer.

The ice at North Pond is plowed and maintained by Silverthorne's Public Works Department, as time allows. Street and sidewalk maintenance take first priority.

Should the ice drop to unsafe levels, Schulman said, the town will send out news releases and post signs at the park letting people know to keep off the ice.

"We definitely monitor it for safety," she said.

Additionally, Schulman mentioned that tournament organizers have been wanting to buy a Zamboni machine for the wacky annual tournament at North Pond Park, provided the town agrees to build a garage to house it.

"We'll see if that ever happens," she said.

Sledding

At the same time Silverthorne is plugging the opening of its pond ice rink, the town's Rainbow Park Tot Lot, adjacent to the Recreation Center at 400 Rainbow Drive, is providing "the finest in sledding steeps and mountain views" in Summit County, according to the spokeswoman.

Schulman said she went sledding at Rainbow Park shortly after the most recent snowstorm on Christmas and stands by that statement.

"It's great free sledding," she said. "I've been there with my teenage kids, as well as my little niece and nephew, and there's a pitch for everybody. People build jumps throughout the season. I was there one day after the (winter break), and I bet there were 35 people sledding."

Rainbow Park is open dawn to dusk, regardless if it's a blizzard or a bluebird day outside. There is no professional maintenance done here, but sledders often build their own jumps and paths. The park also has two covered pavilions with access to a charcoal grill, restrooms and plenty of parking.

Nordic skiing

If ice skating and sledding aren't your cup of tea, the town's Nordic Center at The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks, 2929 Golden Eagle Road, has trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through March.

At the request of the town, the golf course has agreed to open up its clubhouse for Nordic skiers for the first time this year, Schulman said, adding that town staff made the request to ensure better access to restrooms.

As an added bonus, Schulman said the clubhouse will have free coffee, tea and hot chocolate, in addition to soda and beer for purchase, as well as some snacks.

The golf course's clubhouse will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter. The trails are maintained by the golf course, generally several times a week, according to the town, which lists two courses, both with "spectacular views."

The North Course is more challenging with a lot of changes in elevation, while the South Course is better for beginners with flatter ground and a variety of twists and turns. No dogs or motorized vehicles are allowed.

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